Structuring a manual - trying to make it easy for everyone

Subject: Structuring a manual - trying to make it easy for everyone
From: Carlon Peterson <cpeterso -at- komo -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 16:39:55 -0600

Hello all,

I just joined the list today. I am a 'new' technical writer and have been
tagged to re-structure some manuals for equipment we build.

We build a variety of machines for the metalworking industry, wood,
plastics, and any other material that can be cut. Many of the machines we
build are custom - few machines are identical. Some (emphasis on some)
portions of the machine are modular - in other words we use the same sub
assembly on different machines. Engineering changes occur on these sub
assemblies probably on an annual basis.

I hope I have given enough background info to a lay audience without
causing confusion. My questions are:

Is there any guide that can help setup a documentation structure that can
'follow' changes made to a 'part'?
How can I setup a manual to be modular - to make it easy for us to assemble
- and keep it organized so it is 'user friendly'?
Are there any good books on this topic?

I am using Microsoft Word97 - I have expiremented with the Master Document,
sub document format. It seems to crash on me when I work with many
different sub documents through the Master.

I am looking for general guidance. You are welcome to e-mail me direct if
you feel the info would 'overload' the list.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Carlon Peterson
Komo Machine, Inc.

cpeterso -at- komo -dot- com

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